Kawenga – Responsibility

Kia ora koutou, warmest greetings to you all. I am writing to you with a heavy heart this weekend, as you all will know of the news on Friday in Christchurch.  Being a father first and foremost, I am struggling with the concept of how I can explain to my children about what has happened. There is a huge shift in my thinking about my perception of Aotearoa, New Zealand, our country, our home. There’s going to be a fundamental sense of readjustment.

I turned to the internet to see what advice is out there for parents who are wrestling with how to explain what happened in Christchurch to their children. The number one thing parents should do for their children is tell them they’re safe, but be honest that something bad has happened. Clinical psychologist Dr Sarb Johal said that when it came to dealing with tragedy, children took cues from their parents “Kids need to be told ‘you’re safe, we’re safe, something bad has happened and there are people out there helping’,” Johal said.

For me the quote in this article sums up how I am feeling:  “For all New Zealanders there’s a collective loss of grief, not just for the brothers and sisters we have lost but for our sense of identity”


* Give children as much information as they ask for.

* Stay aware of things they might see or hear.

* Tell children they’re safe and that people are helping keep them safe.

* Don’t shy away from telling them people have been hurt and killed.

* Remember to talk about feelings as much as facts.

* Find a space to process their own feelings, if they’re struggling they should get help.

* Understand teenagers will want to be with their peers and parents should encourage that.

* Let children help; find avenues where they can contribute.

* Remember children and teenagers’ reactions may be delayed.

Russell Street School will be ready to respond as best as we can in the up and coming weeks. If there are any questions or queries around this, please ask!

But I am so full of hope from reading the thoughts of my friends and family on social media that we will come through this stronger and more united that before:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

WEEK 7 Highlights:

  • We welcomed two Massey teachers to our kura on Monday, Casey (in Room 5) and Jon-Paul (in room 8)
  • Ranginui Swimming Sports and Demonstration Day: for a while now we have been making small steps to personalising and differentiating learning pathways for our children. When I went to school, and for many of you also, everyone learnt the same thing, all at the same time. What has this got to do with Swimming Sports? Well we are questioning and investigating how a differentiated approach for something like this might look like. We are still aiming for panekiretanga but within an achievable goal for you. Hence, we trialled a competitive and non-competitive events. The events were hugely successful, and we are already looking forward to next year to see how we can make it even better for more of us. PS: KIWI HOUSE WON THE RELAY!!!
  • And the staff put on a funny wedding for Kelly during our morning tea!! Don’t worry, it was just juice in the wine glasses!

Week 8, The Week Ahead:

Wheels, wheels, wheels… I put together this video to help explain to us how we can work together to make arriving and leaving school a little safer. We have had an influx of children wanting to use their wheels coming to school and using them at school also. This is awesome! I love watching our learners practise and practise their skills to perfect them and be able to show them off: it’s what learning is all about! However, there have been a few close calls especially during the times of 8:30am – 8:55am and 3pm – 3:20pm.

So to summarise, parents please remind your children to use the blue strip for their wheels. When you get to the gate, please walk your wheels until you are safely outside the gate (and vice versa) and away from people / traffic before starting up again. Please watch this video with your child so that they know the rule and show them the blue line when you get to school.  Thanks for your cooperation with this…

  • Poutokomanawa are away to the Marae on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Tatai Whetu (Rooms 8, 9 & 10) are going to the Marae on Tuesday for the day.
  • Weetbix TRYathlon is on Tuesday: please ring the school office your child is competing in this to let them know of their absence, please contact Troy if you have any questions about this.
  • And we are looking forward to celebrating Russell Street School’s 90th birthday this coming weekend!

Ka nui taku aroha ki a koutou,

Have an amazing week everyone

Noho ora mai,